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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Three incumbents to advance in crowded Medical Lake School Board primaries

If Tuesday’s election standings hold, three incumbents running in Medical Lake’s school board primary election will move on to the general election, joined by five political newcomers.

The list of 17 candidates on the ballot in this year’s school board primary was the most of any school district in Washington. The local teachers union did not endorse any of the candidates prior to the primary race.

The union hopes to make endorsements before the general election, said Medical Lake Education Association president Ryan Grant.

Four seats on the school board are up for grabs in the Nov. 7 general election. The top two candidates in each race will move on to the general election.

Seat 1

Voters favored two political newcomers in the District 1 primary.

Local boutique owner Gerri Johnson pulled nearly 50% of the votes tallied Tuesday night.

Johnson sat at home the evening of the primary election waiting for results to show up on TV. When she heard news of her success, she said she was “happy and excited.”

“I know that I’m really active in the community,” she said in a phone interview. “I have a lot of relationships that I’ve built in the community and I have a lot of support. This is the first time I’ve run for an elected position, and it just shows that.”

Children’s pastor and Cheney School District employee Lennelle Spillman followed with 29% of the vote, beating out Bryan Musser, who pulled 21% of the vote as of Tuesday night.

“I’m pleasantly surprised and pleased so far,” Spillman said. “Thank you to those who voted for me.”

The incumbent, John Higgins, opted not to seek election.

Seat 2

Political newcomer and crossfit gym owner Michael Gerry took a slim lead in the District 2 primary Tuesday, receiving 29% of the votes counted. Incumbent and Avista employee Alexis Alexander trailed close behind on election night with 24% of the votes counted and a margin of roughly 60 votes behind Gerry.

Seat 3

In a close race, incumbent and Cheney School District bus driver Laura Parsons was in the lead with 36% of the votes counted Tuesday. First-time candidate and agricultural fertilizer company superintendent Dennis Schilling followed with 33%.

Insurance broker and West Plains Little League board member John Potter received 24% of the votes counted Tuesday night.

Seat 4

Incumbent and scoreboard operator Ron Cooper took the lead Tuesday with 34% of the votes counted. Political newcomer and pastor Mark Hudson pulled the second-highest number of votes with 24% of ballots counted.

Roughly 30 votes behind Hudson on Tuesday, fellow political newcomer and pastor Nick Hawkins pulled 21% of the counted votes in the District 4 primary.